Used car shopping: 1) new cardealer (used) - 2) used car dealer - or 3) private party

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47,769
Location
Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
I've only bought new cars or beaters (and knew it) through my life. I want to check out GOOD used cars at dealers, but cars with 40-80K miles are like $2000 less than new models - what's with that? Used car only dealers are overpriced sleaze lots. I just don't have the time to shop private party right now as I am watching the kids until the wife quits her job, and then I start my new job.... [ June 27, 2005, 05:30 PM: Message edited by: Pablo ]
 
Messages
24,382
Location
Central Florida
If you find a nice used car at a dealer, make them a realistic offer for the car. And if they say no......walk out the door. Don't waste your time haggling for a used car that almost the same price for a new one. I was looking on the CarMax website (not that I would ever buy a car from CarMax) but I noticed all their cars are WAAAAAY overpriced. Like you said, $2000 less for a used Honda with 40K miles compaired to a new Honda. Are they nuts ??? [I dont know] [Mad] [No no] Go to Kelly Blue Book for realistic car values.
 
Messages
2,513
Location
Richmond, VA
Is there an auction near you that's open to the public? You may be surprised at what you'll find. Of course it's a crapshoot but I found some really nice cars there for a decent price (lower than what you'll pay a private party). My sis needed a small car cause she was tired of driving the F-250 as a grocery getter and I found a low-mileage Cavalier for under 2G. She's had it for about 3 months now with no problems. Just something to consider. BTW The last 3 cars I bought were new for exactly your reasoning. I just can't see saving a couple G when I can buy new and have the warranty, low APR financing, etc.
 

Pablo

Thread starter
Messages
47,769
Location
Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
LT4 Good point - I was so shocked and walked before even thinking they would haggle down to realistic values. Maybe they rely on people actually paying those prices [I dont know] sheesh.
 
Messages
2,513
Location
Richmond, VA
quote:
Originally posted by LT4 Vette: If you find a nice used car at a dealer, make them a 'Take it or leave it' offer. And if they say no......walk out the door. I was looking on the CarMax website (not that I would ever buy a car from CarMax) but I noticed all their cars are WAAAAAY overpriced. Like you said, $2000 less for a used Honda with 40K miles compaired to a new Honda. Are they nuts ??? [I dont know] [Mad] [No no] Go to Kelly Blue Book for realistic car values.
Actually KBB has some crazy figures. I use NADA.
 

Pablo

Thread starter
Messages
47,769
Location
Duvall WA - Pacific NW USA
Wow - you guys are great (as usual) Here's an observation: While the "loaded" used Camrys and Corollas are deeply discounted compared to new, the plainer cars are very close to the new prices! For example, new Camry CE is like $17K (very plain) while the same plain car, 2001 model, is $14K with 51K miles! With LE (V6 loaded etc new is over $25K, used $15-17K!)
 
Messages
1,329
Location
South Texas
Pablo, I know he feeling about not wanting to do the leg work with hunting a car down from private sellers. Problem is that 90% of salesmen are crooks. My good friend is an auto insurance rep, and he deals with a ton of salesmen form car lots. He says most are crooks, and only trusts the ones he knew personaly from outside the business. My problem with car dealers (new and used) is they try to get you to buy a car on the spot, and usually something you do not want. Then they hit you with the admin and doc fee of $100-300 which just goes to their commission. Plus you have no idea who owned the car before. With private sellers, you can see you owned the car before, and if a good judge of character w/ good BS meter, who may can tell if then took care of it, or if they look like crooks, they probably are crooks. with carfax now, you can run the VIN on any car, though they are not 100% acurate. pablo, look at cars from home on ebay!
 
Messages
659
Location
Minnesota
quote:
Originally posted by Pablo: LT4 Good point - I was so shocked and walked before even thinking they would haggle down to realistic values. Maybe they rely on people actually paying those prices [I dont know] sheesh.
I read that 80 percent of the income from a dealship comes from 20 percent of the people. It is basically people who don't know how to haggle or people who believe the "It too popular of a car, we can't lower the price for anyone," who get screwed in the car buying market. It is also those same people who don't know how much their trade-in is worth and they get screwed on that end of the purchase. Don't forget about the third money maker, financing, they make tons on this too. Wait, there is more, "undercoating, fabric protection, extended warranties," they will mark up extended warranties much more than what the providing company sells those warranties to the dealers for. The fabric protection is just 3 cans of scotchgard that people pay a premium for some guy to spray on their fabric, and undercoating is just basically spraying or brushing on a bunch of stuff that resembled rhino lining to the bottom of the car, which is pretty cheap for them to do.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Messages
45,973
Location
New Jersey
Some used car lots are decent. If they sell higher end stuff, theyll likely be a little better - of course youll pay for it. IMO, it is in no way worth it to buy a corolla, camry, accord, or really any other car for that matter that is 2 years old and nearly the same price as new. The $2000 is nothing in reality. If you cant afford it, get one or two less trinkets on a new car. Ive found private party sellers to be the best. One way or another, dont buy a car that doesnt have every maintenance reciept and bit of service info. That tells a lot about the PO and their type of usage habits (no reciepts, they likely didnt care and did minimal, cheapo service). Depreciation is a moot point if you kep a vehicle a while, and extract proper utility from it... resale value is fools gold if you sell it early, youre still loosing money and never extracted proper utility from the vehicle. The best bet is to buy the car you want at a reasonable markup from invoice/discount rom MSRP, and keep it for a LONG time. Youll never loose out with that tactic. JMH
 
Messages
659
Location
Minnesota
I went and reread your original question and realized I didn't really answer the true question. The dealership or used car lot don't have final prices on those vehicles, they have overpricing on new and used cars. If you want to find a cheap used car, goto a dealerships that won't normally sell what you are looking for. Then bargain down from their prices, they will be more willing to go a lower price than other dealers because if they don't sell that Pontiac at their Ford dealership(just an example), they will probably lose more at auction. Other options besides Private Party sales are sites such as cars.com, carsoup.com, autotrader.com, etc. do an internet search for sites that help owners and dealers to sell cars. It will save time although you will still want to talk to these owners, check out the cars, and do test drives, but you would do the same thing with a dealership anyway. A private party sale usually is the best in terms of getting the best price and knowing where the car came from, but I understand that it really does take a long time to do the entire process. Also, about Carfax, they are good to know if an insurance-related thing happened such as major crashes, fires, floods, salvage titles, odometer fraud. There is no way they will ever know about a problem that wasn't reported to the insurance company or had police involvement. Just don't forget to use your eyes to spot changes of paint color, misaligned parts, don't forget to look underneath around areas that could be hit, I've seen plenty of cars on lots when I was car shopping where I could see damage when looking under the car where all they did was replace the plastic bumper to make it look nice to sell.
 
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36,412
Location
ME
I've had good luck with autotrader.com and their database. I'm able to filter out or ignore "call for price" and sort and narrow by price and location radius. I'm not the average person, as I've gone 100 miles as the crow flies, which is really more like 130 miles, for a good deal on a used car. Got a 99 Bonneville for $2700 a few months ago for a relative who sublet the shopping work onto me. [Smile] Also managed a Hyundai Accent still under 5/60k factory warranty for 1/3 the price of new for another relative. By sorting by price, one eliminates the shady dealers that mark a car at $6000 then immediately offer it to you for $4995 when it's only worth three grand. The dealers I've dealt with have only budged about 10%. Both outfits have been in the swamps of New Hampshire; one had a dirt lot; both had trailer "showroom" offices. Both were one-or-two man operations. I've noticed that cities and "automile" megastores attract crooks like moths to a flame; the best of a bad lot in one mega-zone is still a bad place to buy. I maintain control by showing my driver's license but not allowing them to photocopy it. I say I'm here to see X car on autotrader and would like to drive it. I show a printout from dealer Y of a very similar car that's cheaper. I give a ceiling of what I'll spend (which is basically an offer) and my phone number for when/if they accept it. I've been asked if I'm having financing trouble (and I won't tell BITOG or the world if I am or not) but I simply say it's a cash sale and that's all I feel like paying for a car because there are other things in life. This stymies many salespeople driven by the obscene comissions from poor-credit loan transactions. I'm in my twenties and look like a scruff so I get the dumbest most worthless salespeople from the mega-stores. Autotrader might be a weak search engine in your area but try others, preferably ones cheap or free for the dealers to get into. You'll find some dirt lot with a couple dozen auction cars including the one you want. I get dealers to sell to me at private party prices, and I usually get a 30 day "lubricated parts" engine warranty and a "warranty of inspectability" for a week... both worthwhile.
 
Messages
1,777
Location
Pennsylvania
My wife and I bought a 2001 Jeep GC from a used only dealer and had a great experience. The dealer sells alot of Jeeps and has a good reputation and they have a geat service department. I have started taking our other vehicles there for inspections, etc.
 
Messages
42
Location
Lancaster, PA
I bought my last car from my dad's dealership that was a trade in. One of the season mechanics said it was in great shape, body and interior were very clean. I've since had to put almost 3k into it in 3 years... Last time I ever buy a used car.
 
Messages
4,353
Location
FL
quote:
Originally posted by MN Driver:
quote:
Originally posted by Pablo: LT4 Good point - I was so shocked and walked before even thinking they would haggle down to realistic values. Maybe they rely on people actually paying those prices [I dont know] sheesh.
I read that 80 percent of the income from a dealship comes from 20 percent of the people. It is basically people who don't know how to haggle or people who believe the "It too popular of a car, we can't lower the price for anyone," who get screwed in the car buying market. It is also those same people who don't know how much their trade-in is worth and they get screwed on that end of the purchase. Don't forget about the third money maker, financing, they make tons on this too. Wait, there is more, "undercoating, fabric protection, extended warranties," they will mark up extended warranties much more than what the providing company sells those warranties to the dealers for. The fabric protection is just 3 cans of scotchgard that people pay a premium for some guy to spray on their fabric, and undercoating is just basically spraying or brushing on a bunch of stuff that resembled rhino lining to the bottom of the car, which is pretty cheap for them to do.

darn it you just described me lol. when i went to buy my 04 civic i was so anxious because it was my first car and in the end we payed the sticker price and on top of that we even had to pay the $600 dealer fee. i feel so stuipid now.
 
Messages
13,132
Location
By Detroit
My very limited experience is to look at private party cars and the used lot at new car dealerships. I think the new car dealerships get the cream of the crop and send the lesser units out for resale to other used car lots. Of course one still has to be wary as the F150 I got from the dealership apparently had towed some very overloaded trailers. It has a badly torn up clutch at 60,000 miles (worked fine when I bought it) and the rear end pinion went out around 70,000. Ha ha, the Aerostar I bought from a private party (with only 27,000 miles) leaked from the roof a week after I got it. But both turned out to be great vehicles after I got thought those hassles.
 
Messages
756
Location
Northern California
quote:
Originally posted by cortazzo: I bought my last car from my dad's dealership that was a trade in. One of the season mechanics said it was in great shape, body and interior were very clean. I've since had to put almost 3k into it in 3 years... Last time I ever buy a used car.
I bought my Mazda from my brother-in-law. Got a great deal, it was less than half for private auto sales. It had all the service records, and I even had it for several months as we swapped cars for awhile. It was even serviced prior to my purchase. First 2 years, I replaced parts that I have never ever had to replace before on prior cars (100k miles on it), probably put $3000 into it. Checked consumer reports, big whoops '93 was a very bad year for the 626. Now having replaced all that good stuff, it seems to be very reliable, and I hate getting rid of something that runs good, although it looks too much like a daily beater. I figured that I would probably have to put money into it knowing that it is a used car, but the stuff that broke just surprised me.
 
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3,031
Location
Florida
I will never buy another used car! After a lawsuit against a dealer that sold me a used car I vowed that its not worth the risk to save a few dollars on a handmedown or a Iscrewedupletmegetridofit.
 
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